The Children's Domain

A little bit about our renovation process: The floors on the entire downstairs (except the kitchen) as well as the stairs and an upstairs bedroom were carpeted.  We were originally going to live in the house as is and assess things for a longer term picture, but Jason is allergic to cats and we discovered that there had been cats at some point in the house. His allergies would not allow for that. Darn it, I guess we had to move quickly instead.  :)

While our friend, Ryan, helped us sand the entire downstairs, we decided to move in upstairs.  There is access to the outside through the staircase, so we were able to go in and out accordingly.  This week or two (I don't even remember the duration!) was crazy.  The sawdust was everywhere and there were fans blowing it out of all fo the windows. There was a nice film on anything that came in and out of the house and surrounding. I'm a little bit traumatized over it. Ha!

Anyhow, it was a special time upstairs with the kids. Jason and I shared a room with Lu and the boys all shared a room while I worked on painting two of the bedrooms.  I think we'll all remember snuggling together around a heater, living in sleeping bags, and doing schoolwork on the floors.  

During this time I was able to work on the kids' rooms because we were kind of at a stand still.  We were working on demoing the kitchen and dining, but that had to be within certain hours because I can't do all of that myself...unfortunately!

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Carter wanted a very subtle blue/ grey (we used Kelly Moore's Feather White) and didn't want much on the walls. He's my super simple guy, always preferring clean lines and nothing too loud. I can appreciate that! When I don't know where he is, I can usually find him on his bed reading maps, his Bible, playing with his calculator (haha!) or playing an instrument.  Below is his desk space.

 Those are some of the topographical maps the sellers had left.

Those are some of the topographical maps the sellers had left.

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This is from standing in the hallway... the twins' room and Everett's attic room are on the left and Lu's room is behind me.

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The office already had these built in cabinets, however, we adapted them a little bit to make the desk space wider as I believe it was designed for a small child. :)  Now we have a larger work space and more leg room. Color on the walls is Valspar's "Honeysuckle Delight".

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The twins' room was already painted white, SCORE! This is the room that was carpeted a nice, orangey red color. We replaced the flooring with Coretec's Calypso Oak flooring.  I researched high and low for a durable floor that was soft underfoot.  This was about the only one I could come by besides cork, but the bonus is that the underlay is cork, so sound is muffled and it's softer on the feet.

They wanted minecraft and science in one room. Not sure how to do that, but they also are the most laid back with color, so I got to do my favorite color palette, which is naturals. :)  They chose the pillows and blankets, both from Target.  

I used Beddy's as their main bedding because I am such a big fan of their concept; developed for little hands that may struggle with making a symmetrical bed. 

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 Light is from  Lamps Plus ... it was a tester to see if I wanted additional lights in the dining area. :)

Light is from Lamps Plus... it was a tester to see if I wanted additional lights in the dining area. :)

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Lu's room is the best room in the house. It's big and bright and charming. The wallpaper was installed in 1941! While the pattern was a little too much for the entire room, I really wanted to keep a majority of it as an ode to the home's history... and because removing it is not the most fun. So Jason and I added board and batten, painted it white, and called it good.

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She wanted pink everything. Oh man, that's so hard!  We used the curtains we had at our last place and my friends generously added the gauze ruffles to lengthen them. The twin beds were left here as well as the armoire that I painted with the remaining paint from the office.  I'm not sure I have a photo of that? Anyhow.  There are some scale issues in this room, like the rug being too small, but that is pretty standard with me and my fast clicking, no measuring skills. :)

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Lu wanted horse ribbons hanging in her room, but I think you have to compete in horse competitions in order to get them?! Instead, I bought a pack of silk remnant scraps off of ebay and we tied them on her bed and hung them on her chandelier. And she was happy. :)

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Below are the befores... we didn't have to do anything structural, so there's no real jaw dropping transformations, but I do always enjoy seeing the before and afters, so there you have it. Also, you'll recognize some furniture!

I realize I totally forgot to take photos of Everett's attic room.  I'll just update those when I get a chance, like next year or something. :) 

A Season of Blessing

I finally realized that in order to get this written, I’ll need to take my computer to the kids’ swim workout, which is about the only chance I have to sit down! I really wanted to document our story as to purchasing this home because I want it a part of our family journal, and I’m hoping to answer any questions about the property that have been asked.

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At the beginning of the year, I was in such a good place in my heart with our home. I’ve shared on here how discontentment has crept in and out in the past, having such a quirky, smallish home on top of a hill, and how I’ve had to combat it with gratefulness. It seems that I go through phases, triggered usually by a creative urge or a need to change things.  At that time, I had been setting some money aside to change one of the kids’ bedrooms into our master bed, where we would actually have our own bathroom.  I was super stoked on this plan and was so settled at home that it took me by surprise when Jason text me that he was going to go see his dream home  (I was out of town with the kids at the time).  It was way out of our price range and totally not my style, but we had both always admired the property when we had driven by it. Two weeks prior to it being listed he had told the kids, "Children, your mom likes living in our humble home so that she has the freedom to take you on fun trips and ski and such... if that property ever goes up for sale, though, things will change!" Ha! The Lord has a sense of humor! Just like the time I told Jason that I would never buy a farmhouse because wrap around porches prohibit natural light from coming in (never say never).

After returning home, he urged me to check it out.  The property was incredibly enchanting with its lush flowers and massive trees--the flat space is quite expansive and I immediately saw us hosting families for get togethers and bonfire worship nights. There is a giant 400 year old oak tree that stands in the middle, and the history of the land is so intriguing--we are only the fourth family to inhabit this place and it was built in 1846!  My dream has always been for us to have a creek for the children to spend endless hours of play in, and the property borders a good stretch of a sandy, clean, year-round creek! So much charm and character, however, when walking through the house, it was so hard for me to fall for it.  I am drawn to high ceilings, big windows, natural light, and large open spaces.  The more aesthetically challenging the home, the better in my opinion, because then there's so much room for creative improvement, however this home didn’t need many structural or cosmetic changes.  In all, it’s a traditional historical farmhouse. Some of it can't even be changed because it's a part of the historical society.

But.  Kids are freaking loud.  And after living in a home with tall ceilings and an open floor plan, we swore that we would never do the open floor plan again. Plus, most of our friends have at least 3-7 children, and hosting just one family over results in a lot of noise and chaos. So as I walked through the house, with its bazillion doors and secret rooms, I was intrigued. Three out of five of my children are introverts and knowing they had multiple spaces to retreat to was appealing to me. Also, we have never had a tv, and this place has its own tv room and actually came with a big screen tv. I loved the idea of snuggling up on the sofa for a family movie night without hunching over the laptop!

I kept walking through the home thinking the house is perfect for our family needs and our hospitality dreams, but I just wasn't excited about its overall style--especially knowing the price of it.

 One of the two gardens (and our outdoor kids' kitchen--I had to specify because our actual kitchen is outdoor right now!).  Currently its grape vines are full and the trees are lush. It's a whimsical place to be and Everett has full control over it.  He's already harvested some veggies from it!

One of the two gardens (and our outdoor kids' kitchen--I had to specify because our actual kitchen is outdoor right now!).  Currently its grape vines are full and the trees are lush. It's a whimsical place to be and Everett has full control over it.  He's already harvested some veggies from it!

I called my in-laws to discuss my opinion with them. I basically explained how I was torn as Jason really loved the place, but I didn’t, and the price was a crazy stretch for us.  They were excited about the property and the opportunity for us to have so much flat land for our children and family (it’s rare to be able to have flat acreage where we live).  They wanted to come up and see it--which they did the following morning. After they saw it, they were determined to buy some of the land for themselves with the future plan of building their retirement home on it (as a whole, there are four different parcels included in the sale), which ultimately brought the price for our parcel way down. They loved the property and had been mulling over the idea of retiring up here in the future, so this was a great opportunity for them.

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Somehow, in a whirlwind of 48 hours, we wrote a contract, put our house in escrow, and opened escrow on the farmhouse!  God was woven through every detail. We know this because we’ve tried to buy multiple homes in the past 5 years and nothing had panned out.  Even without being entirely in love with the home, the way he worked out the details assured me that this was a part of his plan. In fact, my mantra through this whole process has been, "Lord you have my heart"... because ultimately I want to be where he plants us and I'm not going to let a lack of natural light get in the way of that. This process went so smoothly; we were brought to tears multiple times.  It became a season of blessing, just sitting in neutral and coasting through as he led this thing. Not to say that it was or currently is easy.  We had so much to do in such little time!

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When we got the keys to the farmhouse, we were utterly exhausted from the rush of a quick escrow, however, that same day we started pulling out carpet, cleaning out closets (the house came fully furnished), and getting rid of some furniture. We haven’t stopped since! Being that this is our, Lord willing, “forever house”, every decision made had to be thought through, as we’d be living with the benefits or consequences for the long term.  That was and is a whole different type of pressure that I haven’t experienced before. Yet, I also didn't want to move twice; we knew all changes & improvements needed to be made up front so we wouldn't have to deal with the chaos again. My hope was and is to be able to start up next school year in a place of peace so that the tone is set for the year.

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Every decision for this home has been filtered through the factors of durability and quality.  Because of that, things are twice or even thrice as expensive as other choices I would have made, causing us to lose our small renovation budget rather quickly. But I'm so glad that we're doing so, because in our last place I tried to do everything on the cheap, disregarding quality or durability and in the end a lot of our hard work ended up damaged or destroyed... I didn't want to do that again.

Between the craze of demolition and rehabilitation, we’ve been able to host friends and family out on the front porch, which is the main heart of why we were so drawn to this place.  Jason rocks on the outdoor rocking chair for his decompression, and I’ve been able to enjoy the most beautiful running route through an apple orchard! The kids have pretty much been self contained (read: neglected), altering between riding bikes, scooters, roller blading, playing at the creek, trampoline time, and just enjoying the property.  We happen to live on a golf course as well, so the older boys have been golfing (in fact, Carter has fallen for the sport and nearly golfs every day).

 We ended up taking three walls down in order to provide a brighter kitchen.  The kitchen is Northeast facing, meaning it gets morning light, but only in the winter as the massive oaks block it in the summer.  I am basically solar powered, so it was important to me to have a bright room to do life in, since this is the space we spend the majority of our time.

We ended up taking three walls down in order to provide a brighter kitchen.  The kitchen is Northeast facing, meaning it gets morning light, but only in the winter as the massive oaks block it in the summer.  I am basically solar powered, so it was important to me to have a bright room to do life in, since this is the space we spend the majority of our time.

I wake up every morning with sore muscles from daily work around here, but a grateful heart.  So grateful. I am blown away over the season of blessing that we’re in. I’m hesitant to even call it that, because the Lord blesses even through the hardest times, and we have been through some hard times! As exhausting as it has been making this house our home, his gift to us is just so fresh and new and intense, that I just hope we never forget the time that he gave us the desires of our hearts so freely and abundantly.

 Mother's Day 2018--probably the cleanest we had been in weeks.

Mother's Day 2018--probably the cleanest we had been in weeks.

Also, latest news... as my in-laws had planned to build eventually on this property, they purchased a new trailer to park on the land as a short term plan.  However, the weekend they brought their trailer up, the house across the creek from us was put up for sale and they decided it would be wiser to purchase a home rather than build!  So now, they're moving full time up here within a few weeks and are just a hop, skip, and jump away.  Yet, we both still have our own spaces. It's really the best of both worlds. Especially since they'll be the ones with a pool. ;) Seriously, God is SO good.  He's done more than we could have ever imagined.

I'll try and do a post on the kids' rooms as those were some of the first spaces to complete so that there was some peace and order while we handled demo and such. What a process. I am so exhausted! (have I said that yet?!) Also, below are some Instagram stories & additional picts that I want on here for memories. :)

 At one point, they convinced me that we should still stick to our Wednesday's "make day".... that lasted a few weeks until the renovation took over.

At one point, they convinced me that we should still stick to our Wednesday's "make day".... that lasted a few weeks until the renovation took over.

 So here's the deal with renovation... you make a giant mess, clean it up, try to set up home, then make another giant mess, clean it up, set it up to be manageable, then make another giant mess.  It's quite the process, but you find out all of the coping mechanisms you have hidden up your sleeves!

So here's the deal with renovation... you make a giant mess, clean it up, try to set up home, then make another giant mess, clean it up, set it up to be manageable, then make another giant mess.  It's quite the process, but you find out all of the coping mechanisms you have hidden up your sleeves!

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A note about the sellers: They were the kindest, sweetest people.  She shared a giant box of the home's history, which was very thorough and organized.  We learned that the home was originally built by an Irish family that immigrated over for the Gold Rush. The next family were potato farmers and farmed most of the land around us. When The Great Depression struck, they were able to feed their family by panning for gold in the creek. Legend has it that there is gold buried on the property somewhere! 

I have had a lot of questions as to why the home was furnished when we purchased it. They went to live in a tiny home in Hawaii where their son lives.  We wanted the move to be as easy as possible for them, so we offered to let them leave everything in the home as a part of negotiations.  I'm so grateful for this because we've acquired some really neat pieces of furniture and some meaningful collections such as a large, international coin collection and a box of local topographic maps (oh, and not to forget their prepper stash of emergency food, SCORE).  

We were able to pray with them before leaving and I am just so blessed to reside in the home of a family this special. I will always remember a conversation I had with her on the final day that we did our walkthrough. I had commented on the outdoor rocking chairs and she said, "this porch has the ability to mend and soothe." And it's so true!  People just randomly stop by--it's been a great opportunity to learn to slow down (when you're task oriented, this is very difficult).  

Shortly after moving in, I was able to spend some time with my friend and mentor, Rea Berg.  She had shared the following poem and I found it so timely as I know this is one of the reasons God ordained this transaction:

The House by the Side of the Road

by Sam Walter Foss

There are hermit
souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened
meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my
house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.